Anger as Michael Winner sticks knife in with ‘no good Hampstead restaurants’ jibe

14:25 16 February 2012

Food critic Michael Winner

Food critic Michael Winner

Archant

The famous food critic has criticised the food offering of Hampstead, which has no Michelin star restaurants

It may have an artistic reputation to kill for – but Hampstead’s food offering has been criticised by Michael Winner who says
“it has never had good restaurants”.

The food critic, who has famously been banned from restaurants for his acerbic critiques, told the Ham&High: “Hampstead is not known as a culinary centre – it has never had good restaurants.

“There used to be one good one. I forget the name of it, it had bookcases around it, and, as you went up Haverstock Hill, it was up there.

“But now, I don’t know of any good restaurants in Hampstead and I don’t know anybody else who knows one. There aren’t any. They are all chains.”

The comment has riled local restaurateurs, including the management of Hampstead’s oldest restaurant La Gaffe, which it celebrates its 50th anniversary next month.

Lorenzo Stella, manager of La Gaffe in Heath Street, said that the criticism was “utter rubbish”.

He said: “Actually the businesses that have been the most successful in Hampstead and have lasted longest have been independent restaurants.

“Probably the mistake this person is making is how you judge restaurants.

“We are not performing culinary gymnastics – we’re not looking to be a three-star Michelin restaurant with the show to go with it. We are just interested in one simple thing and that is good food.”

In contrast to Mr Winner’s luke-warm review of Hampstead’s restaurant scene, another leading critic has celebrated the culinary offering of neighbouring Kentish Town.

Kebab shop E Mono was propelled into the limelight before Christmas when The Times’ restaurant critic Giles Coren, who lives in Kentish Town, gave it a glowing review.

But of the 54 restaurants that have at least one Michelin star in London, none are situated in Hampstead.

Foodies seeking posh nosh in Camden are forced to stray to Bloomsbury, where there are two restaurants which both have one star.

The absence of a Michelin star in Hampstead is in stark contrast with other upmarket north London neighbours.

Islington has two one-star Michelin restaurants, St John and North Road.

Ham&High food critic Joseph Connolly agreed in part with Mr Winner’s comments.

He said: “There are good restaurants in Hampstead – The Wells, Villa Bianca – but there are no great restaurants.

“Why that is will be a mystery forever. It’s not for the want of suitable premises. The old Jack Straw’s Castle or the present rather lamentable Freemasons’ Arms would have been splendid.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Friday, September 4, 2015
Richard Powell was seriously injured in a fight at London Victoria station and died a few days later (Picture: BTP)

A 39-year-old man has died after sustaining serious head wounds in a vicious fight inside London Victoria station.

Friday, September 4, 2015
Insulting comments sent to prospective deputy Labour party leader Stella Creasy included 'you look like an alien egg' (Picture: YouTube)

‘She looks like she’s had more c**ks than hot dinners’ is just one of the charming emails Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has received during her campaign to become deputy Labour leader. Watch her read them out to camera here.

Thursday, September 3, 2015
Police want to speak to this man (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

Detectives want to speak to this man after a woman was sexually assaulted as she waited for a bus on Wick Lane - at 1.30pm.

Thursday, September 3, 2015
A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi, 3, after a number of migrants died and a smaller number were reported missing after boats carrying them to the Greek island of Kos capsized. Picture: AP Photo/DHA/PA Images

A tweet from the account of Wimbledon UKIP candidate Peter Bucklitsch caused outrage today by stating Aylan Kurdi ‘died because his parents were greedy for the good life in Europe’.

Thursday, September 3, 2015
Natalia Czekaj was stabbed seven times

A plumber who sawed off his girlfriend’s head with a breadknife in north London has managed to escape a murder trial - because he is an alcoholic.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Happy viewing!

MyOffers are giving you that chance to win an amazing Samsung 55” Curve HD TV.

Read more
Get ready to take in the beautiful sights of London from above!

Are you always seeking unique ways to see your favourite city? This one is for you.

Read more
Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more